Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Black Sea, The Darkness Comes

Brian Padian, writer and director of 2015's "The Black Sea" told me that I might be disappointed in his film as it wasn't so much a horror movie but a dark existential drama. Perfect! My first thought was "..what's the difference?" Whether Jason or Freddie are coming after you, or the darkest elements of our own soul or some unseen, but present evil, both are fine with me. It looms, and it is getting closer...or has it been inside us all along?
A very un-existential description of our film would state that six friends at a beach house face awful truths after their friend Allison's (Corrina Repp) disappearance. Three couples plan a week-end getaway at an Oregon coast beach house. The wind is howling, waves are crashing, and the weather radio blurts out ominous storm forecasts. Yep...so many applicable metaphors. On the surface, which is a centimeter deep, our great looking couples look like normal people. Then again, who is normal among us? Charlotte (Erin McGarry) and Paul (Bill Sebastian) are the only married couple. Lainie (Cora Benesh) and Michael (Joe Von Appen) are an item, more like two locomotives rumbling toward each other on the same track than a pair of lovebirds. Then there is Allison, a dark artist, with doom oozing from her every pore. Her beau Eli (Matt Sipes), for a yet unknown reason has decided not to partake in the getaway...don't worry, he eventually shows.
Initially the unraveling is semi-harmless. Some bickering, hints of infidelity, and frustration at life. Uh oh! What did Paul just say? Is his sanity in question? His wife Charlotte, as beautiful as she first seems, may also have sanity problems. Then Allison goes missing. We'd think she just took off in a depressed state, but did something more sinister happen? Is someone a murderer? One of our gang exhibits some anti-social and violent tendencies.  The artist's diary doesn't present any cause for optimism, just more suspects in what may not even be a murder. Allison's disappearance brings out a very dark side of who these people really are.  As the storm nears, the film turns darker, and the fate of everyone one in this film starts to ooze the same doom which Allison was stricken with.
Allow me to be arrogant here. The ending?  Don't complain about it...just pay attention! Steeped with metaphor and symbolism, "The Black Sea" will unsettle you and quite possibly stick with you for a few days. A few years ago I recommended Kate Beckinsale's "Snow Angels" to a student of mine. She caught up with me a few days later and said "...thanks a lot, I saw it...now I need therapy." I'm not saying "The Black Sea" will drive you to a psychologist's couch, but may cause you to come to terms with your frustrations, disappointments, and fears.

1 comment:

  1. Psychological horror! This is my favorite kind of film. Of course, when couples get together it is never a good time. There are always infidelities & craziness. It reminds me of a really bad kegger party in college. You know the one. Everyone knows someone is cheating on their SO & they are in the upstairs bathroom getting busy...this is a film I will definitely check out.